Will Trump's Greatest Triumphs Be in Foreign Policy?
Watching the normally Trump-phobic talking heads at CNN bend themselves into pretzels to say something bad about our president's foreign policy address in South Korea Wednesday (our Tuesday), you knew POTUS had to have scored a home run in front of that country's National Assembly.
In fact, if you had viewed the event live on television yourself, as I did here in Los Angeles, you would have known that already because Trump's speech was superb -- at once as tough and determined toward the North Korean dictator as it was complimentary toward the miraculous achievements of the South. You also got a good short history of the Korean Peninsula since the 1950s into the bargain. Kudos to speechwriters Stephen Miller and Michael Anton and whoever else might be involved.
Trump may have received setbacks by proxy at the ballot boxes in New Jersey and Virginia, but in the realm of foreign policy he is achieving signal success. Who knew this would be the area of his greatest accomplishments, the area where he appeared to have no prior experience whatsoever?
Nevertheless, the far more trivial electoral defeats will no doubt dominate the news. Already the same talking heads are placing blame for Virginia squarely on Trump, as if a Republican could ever again be victorious in a state whose northern part is rapidly turning into one giant government employee bedroom. Call it Swampburbia.
On the foreign front, however, Trump is succeeding as no American president has in years. By taking the gloves off our troops, he has given ISIS the boot (at least in their quondam caliphate) and helped put in place conditions that are causing the current shakeup in Saudi Arabia that most see as salutary. This will enable the Saudis to modernize and confront Islamo-imperialist Iran before the mullahs run rampant over the entire Middle East -- something any decent person should applaud, at least if he or she isn't part of the former Obama administration.
In the next day or so Trump will facing his biggest foreign test yet... no, not Putin, though he is apparently on the schedule... Xi Jinping. China is obviously our primary adversary with Russia not much more than a sideshow, despite what Robert Mueller or Fusion GPS might tell us. The battle for the 21st century will be between China and the U.S., possibly with India, not Russia, as a distant third.
Trump may have entertained Xi in Mar-a-Lago, but he's on the Chinese leader's home turf now and Chairman Xi has recently consolidated his power like no Chinese head of state in years, possibly since Mao. The American president will have a complicated task in front of him, balancing the need to get Chinese engagement on North Korea and chastising Xi on trade and China's continued expansionism.